Thursday, February 10, 2011
Finding the right dog for your lifestyle is difficult if you don't know what a specific breed's characteristics are. We see well trained dogs in movies and TV commercials, and think maybe that dog breed would be a great pet, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's the right breed for you. A dog show gives you the opportunity to see different breeds up close and personal, making a difficult and important decision a little less of a gamble.
Dog shows give you a venue where you can talk with responsible breeders who raise purebred dogs. They know their dog breed inside and out, and are your best source of information. Breeders can tell you about a dog's personality and breed characteristics which helps you decide if a dog breed will fit into a certain lifestyle. A Border Collie, Pointer or any dog from the working group is perfect for an active family who loves getting outside with their dog, but they may not fit into a lifestyle that includes small children or small pets, like cats. Someone looking for a small dog thinking the dog's smaller size would be perfect can be surprised by a Terrier who digs up their flower garden or spends the day yapping at the neighbor's outside cat.
All dogs make great companions, for the right people and for the right reasons. A dog show gives you the opportunity to see what a specific purebred dog looks like and ask questions about the breed's temperament, grooming needs, health concerns particular to a breed, if the dog is easy to train, what kind of activities he would excel in, and how he might respond to other people or pets. The people you meet at a dog show are passionate about the breed they raise and show. Responsible breeders, the dog handlers and owners want to promote their specific breed, and they are the best people to give you advice about the breed. A dog is for a lifetime, and no responsible breeder wants any of their dogs to end up in the wrong home. If you find a breed you're interested in, a dog show gives you access to responsible breeders who can help you pick out the right pup.
An all breed dog show allows you to see different dog breeds in one setting. You can see how a well socialized, stable dog interacts with other dogs and people. Maybe you've thought agility competitions look like a fun sport you'd like to try. Any dog breed can be trained and entered in the sport, but if you are looking for a breed that will excel at agility, an all breed dog show gives you a good look at breeds that would meet your needs. Maybe you've always wanted a Siberian Husky. They are beautiful dogs with gentle blue eyes and a coat that's the envy of anyone who lives in a cold climate. But Huskies love to run, and if they have a chance to escape their pen or the house – run they will. Plus, they shed enough hair twice a year that you could process it and knit winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens for an entire town! Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but a Husky sheds a lot. This isn't a good breed if you have allergies.
Dog shows give you valuable information that can put you on the right path to finding the perfect dog for your lifestyle. You wouldn't buy a new car without having done prudent research on the best model for your needs. Deciding on a specific dog breed should be given the same time and effort. Bringing a dog into your home is an important decision, and you owe it to yourself and the dog to make a wise choice the first time. Choosing a dog should never be done as a fashion statement. No dog should ever be turned into an animal shelter because their owner didn't take the time to learn about the breed before getting one.
A purebred dog may not be what you're looking for, but a dog show is still a good environment to learn about different breeds and what their characteristics are like. Mixed breed dogs will resemble one or more of the breeds in their lineage, and they can have a variety of characteristics depending on the different breeds. Just remember, dogs are individuals and whether they are a great family pet depends on how they're treated in the home. Learn about dog breeds before taking one home. You'll be glad you did!
Read more articles by Linda Cole